One of the things I love the most about Crewel is that I can put any stitch anywhere I want on my piece. Even when I am stitching a commercial design, I can pick my colors and my stitches. Some people prefer to have a chart or a specific map of where everything goes, but not me.... except for that darned butterfly on my Master Craftsman Step #6 piece!
As I said before, I have never had a single motif give me more trouble. My original intent was to have a monarch butterfly, orange and black. Early on, I decided that there was too much detail to fit into the small butterfly I had for all the intricacies of the monarch pattern, but I could use the colors. So this is what I stitched:
I was a little concerned that it was too bright, and the judges agreed with that. I tried looking for the same color family but just a bit softer hues, but I didn't have anything (and I have almost every color of Appleton Crewel wool made!) I looked for totally different colors -- a blue, perhaps? Nope. Peacock? Nope. Scarlet? Ick!! After hours of pulling colors out of my cabinet and laying them on the piece in various light conditions, I finally reverted back to the same colors in the surrounding design, the yellows, pinks and purples.
With that decision made, Next was a question of what stitch to use. For some reason, I moved away from the bands of Satin Stitch and tried my old standby Long and Short (right side in the photo below.) I liked it, but it just looked a little too much like a flower petal and not a butterfly wing! So I tried the Satin Stitch bands (left side below) which I liked, but I couldn't get the edges as crisp as I wanted, and I was worried that there was not enough contrast between the yellow and the linen.
That's when I tried adding the outline stitch, both in the Bright Mauve below, and then in the Bright Rose Pink further below. Neither of those was quite the effect I wanted.
Out it all came AGAIN. By now, I was beginning to worry a bit about the linen fabric getting a bit frayed from so many attempts and having to rip them all out, and resorted to my Doodle Cloth! (I'm not sure why it took me so long, especially since that's the name of my blog.) I stitched a Satin outside band, with two lines of outline in the Bright Rose Pink, and the center is Satin in Bright Mauve. It's hard to tell from the photos, but the wing below is on oyster linen (almost white) and the actual piece is on a darker background. I really liked this combination, as long as it would have enough contrast!
I can't tell you how many hours this one butterfly has cost me. The original orange one not withstanding, this new version -- between thinking and pondering and planning and trying and ripping out and trying again -- probably took ten or twelve hours. I like the results (close-up below, in context further down.)
I have now made all of the requested changes to the piece, washed it, and it's now blocked and drying. Sometime in mid-September, it will be on it's way for final judging, and hopefully a successful outcome.
Now, on to the small piece I have designed as a program for my Local EGA Chapter (Bucks County). I'm really excited about this project, and there are 10 people signed up for it already! It's a small design (the linen is 9" x 9", the design about 4 1/2 - 5") that incorporates motifs from Jacobean Crewel, with a nice variety of stitches. I'm going to put a complete kit together, and I'm writing a nice instruction booklet complete with photos of me working each stitch. Stay tuned, and I'll write more about it in my next post!
Happy 4th of July!!